Nanomaterials2016, 6(6), 100; doi:10.3390/nano6060100 - published 26 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Stable superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs), which can be easily dispersed in an aqueous medium and exhibit high magnetic relaxivities, are ideal candidates for biomedical applications including contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging. We describe a versatile methodology to render water dispersibility to SPIONs using tetraethylene glycol (TEG)-based phosphonate ligands, which are easily introduced onto SPIONs by either a ligand exchange process of surface-anchored oleic-acid (OA) molecules or via direct conjugation. Both protocols confer good colloidal stability to SPIONs at different NaCl concentrations. A detailed characterization of functionalized SPIONs suggests that the ligand exchange method leads to nanoparticles with better magnetic properties but higher toxicity and cell death, than the direct conjugation methodology.
Nanomaterials2016, 6(6), 96; doi:10.3390/nano6060096 - published 25 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this work, surface-enhanced Raman spectra of ten genomic DNAs extracted from leaf tissues of different grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) varieties, respectively, are analyzed in the wavenumber range 300–1800 cm−1. Furthermore, structural changes induced in grapevine genomic nucleic acids upon femtosecond (170 fs) infrared (IR) laser pulse irradiation (λ = 1100 nm) are discussed in detail for seven genomic DNAs, respectively. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) signatures, vibrational band assignments and structural characterization of genomic DNAs are reported for each case. As a general observation, the wavenumber range between 1500 and 1660 cm−1 of the spectra seems to be modified upon laser treatment. This finding could reflect changes in the base-stacking interactions in DNA. Spectral shifts are mainly attributed to purines (dA, dG) and deoxyribose. Pyrimidine residues seem to be less affected by IR femtosecond laser pulse irradiation. Furthermore, changes in the conformational properties of nucleic acid segments are observed after laser treatment. We have found that DNA isolated from Feteasca Neagra grapevine leaf tissues is the most structurally-responsive system to the femtosecond IR laser irradiation process. In addition, using unbiased computational resources by means of principal component analysis (PCA), eight different grapevine varieties were discriminated.
Nanomaterials2016, 6(6), 98; doi:10.3390/nano6060098 - published 25 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A way to increase the photocurrent of top-cell is crucial for current-matched and highly-efficient GaInP/GaInAs/Ge triple-junction solar cells. Herein, we demonstrate that ellipsoidal silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) with better extinction performance and lower fabrication temperature can enhance the light harvest of GaInP/GaInAs/Ge solar cells compared with that of spherical Ag NPs. In this method, appropriate thermal treatment parameters for Ag NPs without inducing the dopant diffusion of the tunnel-junction plays a decisive role. Our experimental and theoretical results confirm the ellipsoidal Ag NPs annealed at 350 °C show a better extinction performance than the spherical Ag NPs annealed at 400 °C. The photovoltaic conversion efficiency of the device with ellipsoidal Ag NPs reaches 31.02%, with a nearly 5% relative improvement in comparison with the device without Ag NPs (29.54%). This function of plasmonic NPs has the potential to solve the conflict of sufficient light absorption and efficient carrier collection in GaInP top-cell devices.
Nanomaterials2016, 6(6), 97; doi:10.3390/nano6060097 - published 25 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Ternary alloy PbxCd1−xS quantum dots (QDs) were explored as photosensitizers for quantum-dot-sensitized solar cells (QDSCs). Alloy PbxCd1−xS QDs (Pb0.54Cd0.46S, Pb0.31Cd0.69S, and Pb0.24Cd0.76S) were found to substantially improve the photocurrent of the solar cells compared to the single CdS or PbS QDs. Moreover, it was found that the photocurrent increases and the photovoltage decreases when the ratio of Pb in PbxCd1−xS is increased. Without surface protecting layer deposition, the highest short-circuit current density reaches 20 mA/cm2 under simulated AM 1.5 illumination (100 mW/cm2). After an additional CdS coating layer was deposited onto the PbxCd1−xS electrode, the photovoltaic performance further improved, with a photocurrent of 22.6 mA/cm2 and an efficiency of 3.2%.
Nanomaterials2016, 6(6), 99; doi:10.3390/nano6060099 - published 25 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this work, ball-like Ag nanorod aggregates have been synthesized via a simple seed-mediated method. These Ag mesostructures were characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis), and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Adding a certain amount of polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) can prolong its coagulation time. These Ag nanorod aggregates exhibit effective SERS effect, evaluated by Rhodamine 6G (R6G) and doxorubicin (DOX) as probe molecules. The limit of detection (LOD) for R6G and DOX are as low as 5 × 10−9 M and 5 × 10−6 M, respectively. Moreover, these Ag nanorod aggregates were found to be potential catalysts for the reduction of 4-nitrophenol (4-NP) in the presence of NaBH4.
Nanomaterials2016, 6(6), 95; doi:10.3390/nano6060095 - published 24 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Plasmonic metal nanoparticles supporting localized surface plasmon resonances have attracted a great deal of interest in boosting the light absorption in solar cells. Among the various plasmonic materials, the aluminium nanoparticles recently have become a rising star due to their unique ultraviolet plasmonic resonances, low cost, earth-abundance and high compatibility with the complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) manufacturing process. Here, we report some key factors that determine the light incoupling of aluminium nanoparticles located on the front side of silicon solar cells. We first numerically study the scattering and absorption properties of the aluminium nanoparticles and the influence of the nanoparticle shape, size, surface coverage and the spacing layer on the light incoupling using the finite difference time domain method. Then, we experimentally integrate 100-nm aluminium nanoparticles on the front side of silicon solar cells with varying silicon nitride thicknesses. This study provides the fundamental insights for designing aluminium nanoparticle-based light trapping on solar cells.